Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence Geotechnical Science and Engineering


  1. PhD Scholarship Opportunity

    PhD Scholarship available in Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Geotechnical Science and Engineering (CGSE), The University of Newcastle, Australia.

    An exciting opportunity has arisen for a PhD scholarship, to investigate Mud Pumping in Heavy Haul Railroads. The multifaceted research project will apply statistics and probability theory in the risk assessment of mud pumping in heavy haul railroads.

    We are seeking for highly motivated candidates interested in doing high quality research-based postgraduate studies. Suitable applicants will have a Civil Engineering background, preferably with an MSc in Geomechanics. Candidates should have relevant experience in probabilistic analysis and/or numerical modeling.

    The scholarship stipend will depend on the merit of the candidate, and will be in the range of AUD 27,000 – 35,000 p.a. (tax free) for three years. The scholarship is sponsored by the Australian Research Council via Linkage Project “Mud Pumping in Heavy Haul Railroads – Assessment and Control”.

    Please submit expressions of interest along with a copy of your CV to Dr. Jinsong Huang (email:, who can supply further formation.

    Closing date for applications: 30th November 2017

    The scholarship is available to commence January, 2018.

  2. CGSE’s geoenvironmental team believe hemp seeds a solution to Williamtown contamination crisis

    Firefighting foam chemicals leached from the RAAF based have been found in high concentration in Williamtown groundwater, surface water and soils. CGSE researchers have been awarded $600,000 from the NSW Government’s Research Attraction and Acceleration Program to fund groundbreaking remediation methods that use hemp seed powder to remove the PFAS chemicals from the water.

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  3. Dr Glen Burton awarded the 2016 D. H. Trollope Medal by AGS

    Congratulations to Dr Glen Burton who was awarded the 2016 D. H. Trollope Medal by the Australian Geomechanics Society.

    The Trollope Medal is awarded to the author of an outstanding paper on either theoretical or applied geomechanics. It is the most prestigious award available for a young Australian researcher in geomechanics and continues the long tradition of success in winning this award by members of the Priority Research Centre for Geotechnical Science and Engineering at the University of Newcastle.

    The work undertaken by Glen during his PhD studies focused on experimental unsaturated soil mechanics, which led to the publication of 4 journal articles. Glen’s award was based on his paper “Microstructural changes of an undisturbed, reconstituted and compacted high plasticity clay subjected to wetting and drying” co-authored with Dr Jubert Pineda, Prof. Daichao Sheng and Prof David Airey. This work is of great practical significance for the building of infrastructure on problematic ground which is a worldwide problem.

  4. Short Course on Probabilistic Methods in Geotechnical Engineering

    This one day short-course presented by Professor D Vaughan Griffiths from Colorado School of Mines will be held on Monday 17 July 2017. The program starts by reviewing basic probability theory and introduces the idea of treating geotechnical engineering properties as random variables. The available tools range from quite simple approximate techniques, such as the FOSM or the FORM to M-C methods involving repetitive calculations. The M-C approaches range from single random variable methods that can be implemented quite routinely, to computationally intensive methods such as the RFEM that properly account for spatial correlation. The tools are described and explored in the context of the risk assessment of common geotechnical design problems, such as slope stability, bearing capacity, and earth pressures. All the software described is available free to the course participants.

    For more information you can download the course flyer here.

  5. CGSE researchers receive ARC linkage funding for boosting the strength of railway tracks

    Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham said the Turnbull Government’s $1.875 million commitment for research into strengthening railway tracks at the CGSE node Centre for Geomechanics and Railway Engineering (University of Wollongong) is among the first projects to be funded under the new Linkage Projects scheme. Minister Birmingham said the Linkage Projects scheme was a direct response to the country’s “appalling” reputation internationally for collaboration between industry and higher education researchers where the OECD ranks Australia last out of all 33 participating countries for collaboration by large firms.  “When researchers and businesses come to the Government with strong proposals that will clearly deliver real benefits for industry and Australians, we want to be able to green light them as quickly as possible,” Minister Birmingham said. ( source:

    Distinguished Professor Buddhima Indraratna will be leading a research team at the University of Wollongong in collaboration with the University of Newcastle, Infra Tech, the Australasian Centre for Rail Innovation (ACRI), Geoharbour Group, Coffey Geotechnics and SMEC, to determine underlying causes of a process known as ‘mud pumping’ which is highly destructive to railway lines. Fast heavy haul operations (such as loads used in mining and agriculture) impart repeated loads on the ground underneath the railway line, which can cause holes and other deformations of the ground, leading to serious damage of tracks and the immediate suspension of rail operations. The problem occurs particularly in areas where the ground is waterlogged, and causes millions of dollars damage to Australia’s 33,000km rail network every year.

    Thanks to the Australian Government, through an ARC Linkage Projects scheme grant worth $675,000, as well as significant additional cash and in-kind support from five partner organisations, an experimental program and field study will be undertaken to understand the mechanisms of mud pumping, and the role of vertically installed drains will be quantified for improved practical design.  The project aims to contribute to improved track longevity and reduced maintenance costs, with a corresponding boost in rail productivity.  (source: and )

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  6. CGSE researchers win 2 awards in the 2016 ICE Publishing Awards

    CGSE academics have been recognised for their high quality research publications in the 2016 Institution of Civil Engineers Publishing Awards.COFS-150225-54

    Dr Yinghui Tian, Prof Mark Randolph and Prof Mark Cassidy received the David Hislop Award for the best offshore paper in Géotechnique. Their paper, Analytical solution for ultimate embedment depth and potential holding capacity of plate anchors, is now available to download free of charge here. The paper proposes an analytical approach to evaluate the ultimate embedment depth and holding capacity that plate anchors can potentially achieve.

    Dr Shiaohuey Chow, Dr Conleth O’Loughlin and Prof Christophe Gaudin, along with co-authors Mr Riccardo Corti and Dr Andrea Diambra from the University of Bristol were awarded the Telford Premium award for their paper in Géotechnique Letters.  The paper, Drained cyclic capacity of plate anchors in dense sand: experimental and theoretical observations, provides experimental evidence and proposes a macro-element theoretical model that shows and explains that the drained cyclic capacity of a plate anchor in dry, dense sand may be higher than the equivalent monotonic capacity. Dr Diambra will be visiting COFS later this month to strengthen the collaboration that led to this award winning paper.

    The ICE Publishing Awards acknowledge the best work published in ICE journals. The awards will be presented at a ceremony in London in October. The full list of award winners can be viewed at ICE Publishing Awards 2016.

    Image: Dr Conleth O’Loughlin and Dr Shiaohuey Chow

  7. Australian-Korean collaboration addressing geotechnical challenges

    JINS0445The grant aims to enhance collaboration between Australia and Korea to improve the design of drilling rig and wind turbine foundation systems.

    During the visit, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between COFS and Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Co. Ltd. (DSME). The team also had productive meetings with Samsung Heavy Industries, Hyundai Engineering and Construction Co. Ltd., POSCO Steel Solution, and Woodside Energy Ltd.

    Dr Hossain and his UWA colleagues were hosted on a tour of the DSME Shipyard at Okpo, Geoje city. Mi Mo (Woodside) and Juan Zhang, Hyo-Jin Lee (Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) also attended the shipyard tour with UWA researchers.

    In a grand program (telecasted by Korean Broadcasting System and reported in Korean newspapers), a MoU was signed between COFS and Geoje City, and a second MoU was signed between COFS and the Geoje Chamber of Commerce. Honourable Mr Minho Kwon, Geoje City Mayor, and Richard Fogarty, Counsellor (Education and Science/Australian Embassy Korea) were present, along with Mi Mo, Juan Zhang, Hyo-Jin Lee and other delegates from DSME.

    Following the time in Geoje City, Dr Youngho Kim led a 2 week collaborative research visit with Korean Institutes. COFS PhD students Kuntan Chang and Minjung Jun and Research Associate Ryan Beemer carried out 3 sets of dynamic centrifuge tests at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), and also attended a numerical simulation seminar at Seoul National University (SNU).

    Australian-Korean collaboration to address geotechnical challenges in oil and gas extraction and renewable wind energy harvesting (AKF2015Grant0044) is supported by the Australian Government through the Australia-Korea Foundation of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. 

    Image: The delegation visiting DSME

  8. UOW Rail Expert Receives Top Honour at Combined ARA and RTSA Awards Dinner

    Buddhima Indraratan RTSA AwardGeotechnical engineering and rail infrastructure expert Professor Buddhima Indraratna received the most prestigious award at the combined Australasian Railway Association (ARA) and Railway Technical Society of Australasia (RTSA) Gala |Dinner and Awards Night held at the NSW Parliament House. Prof |Indraratna received this most prestigious honour within the Australasian Railway Community from the State Minister for |Transport and Infrastructure, Hon. Andrew Constance (see Photo).

    The RTSA Individual Award is offered annually to a person who has made an outstanding contribution to the railway industry. RTSA is a joint Technical Society of Institution of Engineers Australia and Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand, formed to further the interests of the railway industry at large and its individual participants. It was established as a non-profit organization in 1997 for the purpose of promoting the co-operation of academic, industrial, commercial and governmental organizations in relation to the practice and advancement of railway technology and management predominantly in Australia and New Zealand.

    The 2015 RTSA Individual Award was received by Prof. Indraratna in recognition of his overall career achievement in providing an engineering and technical service to the wider railway community both nationally and internationally, innovation of his research outcomes, the degree of autonomy in which he currently operates and the quality and appropriateness of publications that have been presented in high quality journals and reputed international conferences. Through this prestigious award RTSA acknowledged the impact he has made to rail industry worldwide thereby influencing the technical standards and rail practices with respect to track design, as well as construction and maintenance through both fundamental and applied research. In particular, the award clearly acknowledged his efforts which have revolutionised track infrastructure in terms of design innovations and extended longevity, enabling faster trains carrying heavier loads.

    Professor Indraratna, who founded the Centre for Geomechanics and Railway Engineering at the University of Wollongong, is also a Program Leader of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Geotechnical Science and Engineering that focuses on Transport |Infrastructure as a major theme.

    Congratulations to Prof. Indraratna for being the 2015 RTSA Individual Award Winner.

  9. Scott Sloan named NSW Scientist of the Year

    We are absolutely delighted that Laureate Professor Scott Sloan has been awarded NSW Scientist of the Year tonight at the Inaugural Premier’s Prizes for Science and Engineering.

    Laureate Professor Sloan, who leads the Centre of Excellence for Geotechnical Science and Engineering at UON, is a pioneer of new methods that enable engineers to predict the collapse states of geostructures such as tunnels, dams, highways and foundations. These methods have delivered a new tool for engineers to design cheaper and safer civil infrastructure across the globe.

    Laureate Professor Scott Sloan said he was thrilled at the news and highlighted it was a reflection of the quality of the research work in geotechnical engineering that has been achieved at UON over the past 30 years.

    “Being named NSW Scientist of the Year continues a great year of acknowledgment of my career and research. It also acknowledges the great geotechnical team at Newcastle, who leads the world in its field and is home to a number of outstanding researchers of all ages,” Laureate Professor Sloan said.

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  10. CGSE Researchers Awarded Australia-Korea Foundation Grant

    CGSE researchers from the Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems (COFS) have been awarded a grant from the Australia-Korea Foundation (AKF) in thTesting on a bucket foundatione Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). The grant is to widen and deepen ongoing collaborations between COFS and Korean three academic institutes and three industries to address geotechnical challenges in oil and gas extraction and renewable wind energy harvesting. This project will use numerical and physical modelling to improve spudcan shapes for drilling rigs, and bucket foundations for wind turbines.

    Project Lead Investigator, Dr Shazzad Hossain says “We are very grateful to AKF for this funding as it provides COFS students and researchers with the opportunity to engage with Korean based institutes and industries”.

    The Korean partners in the project are:

    • Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)
    • Kongju National University (KNS)
    • Seoul National University (SNU)
    • Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Eng. Co. Ltd.
    • Hyundai Engineering & Construction Co. Ltd.
    • POSCO Steel Solution

    COFS researchers will visit these partners’ shipyards and other facilities,  use their testing equipment to carry out some joint venture tests, and share expertise. Results of the research will be submitted to leading engineering journals for publication.

    A/Prof Muhammad Shazzad Hossain is supported by the Australian Government through the Australia-Korea Foundation of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

    Image: Testing on a bucket foundation in a beam centrifuge.

    Media Enquiries: Dr Shazzad Hossain, +61 8 6488 7358